UFC 100 sold approximately 1.6 million pay per views, if you believe the most optimistic of sources. This number is staggering for an MMA broadcast, and it isn’t going to be replicated anytime soon. Georges and Anderson are still excellent draws, but Brock Lesnar had people stampeding to UFC parties and bars and truck stops to watch him. 100 also had an interesting mishmash of guys at different points in their careers. One last big win for Mark Coleman. A still timid Dong Hyun Kim beating up welterweight T.J. Grant. A low point for Stephan Bonnar. A high point for Brock, avenging his loss to Mir. Jon Fitch being Jon Fitch. Lots going on.
Bellator 100 happened with significantly less fanfare. I was in the building, and it wasn’t exactly a capacity crowd. But this does not matter. What matters is that making it to 100 shows, especially as a big player in MMA promoting, is quite an accomplishment. The IFL only did 22 shows. PRIDE promoted 69. Icon Sport did 54. Strikeforce? 64. MFC has done 37. This shit isn’t easy.
Here are a few thoughts about the third MMA show I ever saw in person …
The moments before the show went live on national TV (pretty cool buzz); the efficiency of the show (very organized and prompt … you could tell they do this shit all the time); the sickening sound that Douglas Lima left hook to the body made before he took Ben Saunders’ life; standing 5 feet away from Bjorn Rebney as he worked his magic; the quiet moments where you could hear every heckle ("PUSSY!"); the Vaughn Anderson quote "It’s impossible to look like an asshole when you’re in the ring with War Machine" … and then still looking like an asshole while he was in the ring with War Machine; the intimacy of the arena; Sergio Junior getting hit so hard that his head bounced off the canvas, then recovering instantly; Sergio Junior in general.
Rick Hawn’s fight with Herman Terrado, which was the worst fight I’ve ever seen in person (it wasn’t as bad on DVR, but what a tepid 15 minutes that was); Justin Baesman’s rat tail; Justin Baesman’s walkout music; Ben Saunders flicking endless failed high kicks towards Douglas Lima, when he should have been trying to set up punches or knees; Bubba Jenkins taking another opponent lightly and finally paying for it; $7 for a tiny plastic cup of Bud Light.
The fact that I missed Bubba Jenkins get all gassed and stumbly because of someone called "Larue Burley" (I got there just as they were helping Jenkins out of the cage); the fact that I missed Mighty Mo knock out a guy who was legitimately terrified of him; the fact that I basically missed the prelims because of a combination of traffic, a really, REALLY stupid rental car policy, and losing the will to live. I’m glad I went, but at every MMA show I’ve been to, I always sat there thinking "I’d rather be watching this on TV". Kind of sad, and kind of true.